Could you repeat that?


I love feedback. It’s hard to come by and valuable during all parts of the journey through a work in progress. It’s one of the reasons for critique groups and one of the reasons to submit to contests – many offer feedback. Everyone knows that feedback is not all created equal, and it’s up to the writer to decide what’s right for their work and what isn’t.

It’s not hard to determine when something is off and not right for your work. It’s not hard to know when something is a great piece of advice and you should leap on it yesterday. What bothers me is when it’s so far off that it makes no sense. Then it leaves me wondering what book the person read because it couldn’t have been mine. It’s only happened to me twice, but both times I’ve racked my brain to figure out where that particular comment came from, how they came to that particular conclusion from my story, and what to do about it. In my case, I went to other writers and trusted readers to make sure that it wasn’t a problem with the work itself. When dealing with feedback, there is effective input, criticism that doesn’t work, and some that is just unexplainable.

How do you deal with it?

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8 Comments

Filed under Writing

8 responses to “Could you repeat that?

  1. There’s really no point wasting time trying to understand feedback that’s so far out in left field that you can’t even understand where it’s coming from. My experience, not just with comments on my own writing, but with any area where people can put in their two cents, like book reviews, is that there’s a significant number of people who have poor reading skills. They have no idea what they just read. And then there are those who would like to inflict their tastes or expertise on you. If you know that others readers had no problem with the work, either ignore them, or give them a polite brushoff.

  2. Good idea to ask for a second opinion in those instances 😉

  3. A woman critiqued one of my short stories, and one of her comments was that it had too many words in it. I was half-tempted to reply back with, “I’ll make sure I take out all of the articles, adjectives, and adverbs. If there are still too many words for your taste, I’ll take out the nouns and verbs, too.”

    • dawnall

      No kidding. I love good feedback and I’m not talking people telling me it’s wonderful. I want feed back that is useful.

  4. You will get some off kilter advice from time to time when you have a variety of people read your work. I guess you just figure out what makes sense to you and if they had nothing to bring to the table to improve your writing then just sit it aside. Not everyone is going to get things the same way. Everyones processing information differently and you will have a rare percentage that will come way out of left field leaving you scratching your head. Best wishes.

    • dawnall

      Thanks. I keep plugging along. The good advice keeps me editing and the other scratching my head. 🙂

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